Carter Page Sues Over Yahoo Story On Russia Contacts, Citing Death Threats

Pavel Golovkin/AP
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In a whopping 400-plus page complaint filed Thursday, onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page sued several news organizations for publishing what he deemed were “highly-damaging, life-threatening articles” about his contacts with Russian officials.

Page’s defamation suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, identifies a Sept. 23, 2016 Yahoo article as the wellspring for a flood of stories calling into question his past work in Moscow and his contacts with Kremlin-linked Russian businessmen. Page, who is representing himself, is seeking $75,000 in damages.

The article, written by Yahoo’s chief investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff, reported that U.S. officials were investigating whether Page met with Russian officials, including Igor Sechin, a former deputy prime minister, and Igor Diveykin, the Kremlin’s deputy chief for internal policy, during the campaign to discuss lifting U.S. sanctions against Russia. The alleged meeting occurred during a June 2016 trip to Moscow that Page took while serving as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign; Page denies that he he met with those officials.

Page’s suit describes the story’s publication, which prompted his departure from the Trump campaign, as one of “the most dangerous, reckless, irresponsible and historically-instrumental moments in modern-day sensational crime story journalism.” It also targets HuffPost and Radio Free Europe for publishing subsequent articles that cited Isikoff’s reporting.

Oath Inc., the parent company of Yahoo and HuffPost which is named as a defendant in the suit, did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.

Page’s complaint, in which he refers to himself as “Dr. Page,” chronicles the Yahoo article’s dissemination in exhaustive, theatrical detail. It’s sprinkled throughout with tweets, photos of himself and even online reader comments. The oil and gas consultant, who runs his own small firm from a Manhattan co-working space, charged that the Yahoo article’s allegations led to “the destruction” of his reputation and “led to many associated threats to his life.”

He quoted one such threat he said he received via voicemail at length. “If it was up to me, after we fucking tried you for treason, we’d take you out in the street and beat the fucking piss out of you with baseball bats, you cock sucking mother fucker,” part of it read.

Though Page adamantly denies collaborating on Russia’s campaign to influence the 2016 election, the FBI was sufficiently concerned by his foreign contacts to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant to monitor his communications last year. Page also has confirmed that he sat through over ten hours of interviews with FBI agents this spring.

Despite this wealth of what he insists in the complaint is unwanted public attention, Page has spoken frequently with the press. He agreed to a 30-minute interview with TPM this summer in a Starbucks in Penn Station, and also claimed to be shopping around a book deal on his experience navigating the Russia investigation.

Asked Friday for comment on the suit and why he chose to represent himself, Page sent TPM a lengthy statement quoting George Washington and citing the Constitution. He said he has “done a tremendous amount of legal work” during his career, including as legal officer on his Navy ship and as general counsel for his energy consulting firm.

“Although I may have been dissed amidst the dystopia seen last year,” Page said in an email, “I have full faith that the true administration of justice will indeed be restored in due course.”

Read the first part of his 400-plus page complaint below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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